[Paleopsych] party bias

Michael Christopher anonymous_animus at yahoo.com
Fri Mar 4 20:20:40 UTC 2005

Lynn says:
>>This is a strong point you make, but irrelevant 
to my question. I do want to understand how the left
justifies ignoring the Social Security issue.<<

--I'm not sure the Left does ignore Social Security.
They seem to just believe that there are better ways
to save it than privatization. Some would argue that
conservatives ignore the trade deficit or national
debt. Similar argument.

>>But to your point: There appears to be a de facto 
alliance formed between the radical left - read,
anti-capitalist "progressives"- and radical Islam.<<

--Progressives aren't anti-capitalist, by definition.
I don't think I've ever met a socialist who was happy
with the Democratic party, and I don't think I've met
anyone who supported radical Islam among the American
Left. Granted, I'm just one person and can only speak
from a limited number of contacts, but I think you
were unfairly broad in your characterization of the
Left. You just modified it to "radical left" which is
more specific and less inaccurate. But I still haven't
met a single radical Leftist, and I've known a few,
who supported radical Islam. At worst they ignored the
issue of fascism within the radical Islamic world, or
portrayed the US as a terrorist nation. The latter is
a rare view among Democrats, regardless of the Right's
tendency to resort to such an ad hominem stereotype.
It's unfair, "bearing false witness against your
neighbor" to use the Biblical phrase.

The association between non-profit organizations (a
pretty broad category) and groups which siphon money
to terrorists is incredibly shallow on Horowitz's
part. To imply that groups which oppose aspects of the
Patriot act are somehow in bed with terrorists is
wrong, logically and morally. At worst, accuse them of
being naive about the need to circumvent due process
in times of emergency. That point is debatable, but
less extreme as an ad hominem argument.

It is, of course, reasonable to debate whether our
society's freedoms make us vulnerable. That is not the
same as arguing that people who side with freedom over
security (or who believe that compromise is a false
dichotomy) are in alliance with terrorists. You may
accuse liberals of allowing freedom to take
precedence, and in some cases you'll be right. But
don't accuse them of things they're not actually

>>It suggests the alliance is fairly widespread, not
limited to extremists.<<

--That's like associating conservatives with radical
Reconstructionist Christians who want the death
penalty for gays. It's a few steps beyond reason, into
deliberate smearing.

>>I would like to have a liberal view of the specific
points in the book. If Horowitz is onto something, it
bodes ill for the left, something I do not want.<<

--I'm not about to pay money for it, and I'm not sure
I can categorize myself as a "liberal". My views are a
mixture of pragmatism (including pragmatic use of
military force) and social liberalism (I have no
problem with gay marriage or marijuana
decriminalization, and oppose strict anti-tobacco laws
when they interfere with the rights of restaurant
owners). So I probably can't help you with a
"liberal's view". I'm pretty progressive, and I don't
mind that label.

>>The left seems stale, irrelevant, and preaching to
its own choir.<<

--That I agree with. I am not a traditional Leftist,
by any means. But most of the people I meet on the
Left aren't either. The marketing strategy of the
Left, and that of Democrats, has been pretty lame, no
argument there.

>>Notice that Hillary Clinton has been consistently
supportive of the war. She is no fool.<<

--Yes, she is quite conservative at times. Hardly a
liberal pacifist.  

>>She wants a presidential race and she knows that she
can't play the defense dove like Kerry and still

--Did Kerry say something "dovish" that I missed? I
thought he supported the war too, and only disagreed
with the way it was carried out, with holes in
diplomacy, and with the lack of accountability over
bad use of intelligence. None of those are "dove"
issues, there are plenty of hard-headed military
pragmatists who think Bush has made serious errors,
and that in no way puts them in the pacifist category.

I believe Dean was anti-war, if I remember properly (I
wasn't paying that much attention to the primaries).
Kerry was not. But if Kerry said something reminiscent
of Gandhian nonviolence, let me know. 

>>But too many Democrats fail to see what she sees,
the nation has moved to the right and she has to
position herself in the center to have a chance to

--I think the anti-liberal phase is a pendulum shift,
and that it has already peaked. We'll see in the next
few elections and in the national debate over social,
economic and military progress. Democrats did indeed
fail to see what the Right saw. I think the Right is
missing a few things as well.

>>Where are the exciting new ideas of how to improve
lives at home and abroad?<<

--Amen to that. Neither party has impressed me.

>>In the past, there were some strong defense hawks -
such as John F. Kennedy - who were quite at home in
the Democratic party.<<

--Still are. Hillary hasn't been hurt by her hawkish
stance. Clinton was accused by some Republicans of
"wagging the dog", i.e. being too quick to go to war
to distract the public. Dean lost the primaries. I
don't see Kucinich being hailed as the voice of the
Democratic party. As far as I can tell, the doves are

>>But now I don't hear anything but obstructionism. 
Hence my puzzle: Why the reliance on raw emotion
instead of a reasoned approach to social security?<<

--I'm not sure you can fairly accuse the Democratic
party of being the only party to appeal to raw
emotion. I'm also not sure you can call it
"obstructionism" to be opposed to policies you feel
would harm the country. There is room for debate on
whether privatization would be beneficial, and if so,
beneficial to whom. But accusing Democrats of
appealing to fear makes no sense when the GOP is using
a catastrophic argument to support its position. I
don't know if social security is doomed or not as it
stands, but it does seem a bit skewed to say Democrats
are the ones appealing to raw emotion. A few
Democratic wonks might play on the idea that greedy
Wall Street bankers will benefit while playing up the
risk of investing in private accounts. But I could
point to several equally emotional arguments on the
Right, and the idea that Democrats rely more on
emotional appeals doesn't hold up for me, being
neither a Republican nor a Democrat.


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